Last-modified: 26 Feb 1997
Posting-Frequency: monthly (around the 20th)
FERRET FAQ (part 1 of 5) -- ABOUT FERRETS AND THIS FAQ
Additions, corrections, and suggestions for this file are welcomed!
This document is copyright 1994-1996 by Pamela L. Greene. See section
0.5 (in Part 1, About Ferrets and This FAQ) for authorship information
and redistribution rights. In short, you can give it away, but you
can't charge for it or include it in any for-profit work without
The basic Ferret FAQ has five parts, all of which should be available
wherever you obtained this one. Most people will want to look at
parts 1 through 4, and perhaps skim part 5. A complete table of
contents for all five files is given in Part 1. Please at least read
section 0 in Part 1, About this FAQ. In addition, there are separate
FAQ's for several common ferret diseases. Information about those is
given in section [1.1].
Please note: I am not a ferret expert, and I did not write, nor did I
independently verify, all the information in this file. I have done
my best to include only accurate and useful information, but I cannot
guarantee that what is contained in this file, whether written by me
or by one of the contributors, is correct, or even that following the
advice herein won't be harmful to you or your ferret in some way. For
advice from an expert, you may wish to consult one of several books
available, or, especially in the case of a suspected medical problem,
a veterinarian who is familiar with the treatment of ferrets.
Subject: CONTENTS OF THESE FILES
PART 1: ABOUT FERRETS AND THIS FAQ
0. *** About this FAQ ***
(0.1) Notes on formatting
(0.2) Where to get this FAQ
(0.3) Goal of this FAQ
(0.4) Credits and editor's notes
(0.5) Ferret FAQ copyright and redistribution information
1. *** Where to get more information ***
(1.1) Is there a shorter FAQ to hand out at meetings? Are there
FAQs for particular diseases?
(1.2) How can I find a ferret breeder/shelter/vet/catalog?
(1.3) What mailing lists are there, and how do I join?
(1.4) What about interactive online chats?
(1.5) Where can I find pictures or clip-art of ferrets online?
(1.6) Is there any other information available online?
(1.7) What are some of the books available?
2. *** Revision history of these files ***
(2.1) Revision history
3. *** Introduction to ferrets ***
(3.1) What are ferrets? Do they make good pets?
(3.2) Are ferrets wild? Why are there ferret permits?
(3.3) Are ferrets legal where I live? Do I need a license?
(3.4) I'm allergic to cats. Will I be allergic to ferrets?
(3.5) How much do ferrets cost?
(3.6) Do ferrets smell bad? What can I do about it?
(3.7) Is a ferret a good pet for a child?
(3.8) What are the different ferret colors?
(3.9) What do you call a ferret male/female/baby/group?
(3.10) How can I help the ferret community?
Part 2: FERRET CARE
4. *** Getting a pet ferret ***
(4.1) Which color is the best? Male or female? What age?
(4.2) How many should I get? All at once, or one at a time?
(4.3) Where can I get a pet ferret? What should I look for?
(4.4) What are these little blue dots on my ferret's ear? What's
the deal with Marshall Farms?
(4.5) How do I introduce a new ferret to my established one(s)?
(4.6) Will my ferret get along with my other pets?
5. *** Getting ready for your ferret ***
(5.1) How can I best ferretproof my home? What do I need to
(5.2) How can I protect my carpet, plants, or couch?
(5.3) What will I need to take care of my new ferret?
(5.4) Do I need a cage? Where can I get one? How should I set it up?
(5.5) Any suggestions on toys?
(5.6) What kind of collar/bell/tag/leash should I use?
6. *** Ferret supplies ***
(6.1) What should I feed my ferret?
(6.2) Should I give my ferret any supplements?
(6.3) What are good treats?
(6.4) What kind of litter should I use?
(6.5) Pet stores use wood shavings as bedding. Should I?
Part 3: TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR
7. *** Basic ferret care and training ***
(7.1) How do I train my pet not to nip?
(7.2) I'm having problems litter-training. What do I do?
(7.3) How can I stop my ferret from digging in his food or water?
(7.4) Any advice on baths, ears, and nail-clipping?
8. *** Things ferrets say and do ***
(8.1) What games do ferrets like to play?
(8.2) Can I teach my ferret tricks? How?
(8.3) My ferret trembles a lot. Is that normal?
(8.4) My ferret is losing hair!
(8.5) Is he really just asleep?
(8.6) What does such-and-such a noise mean?
(8.7) What else should I probably not worry about?
(8.8) Do ferrets travel well?
(8.9) Help! My ferret is lost!
Part 4: HEALTH CARE
9. *** Basic health care ***
(9.1) Do I need to spay/neuter my pet? How about descenting? Declawing?
(9.2) What vaccinations will my ferret need, and when?
(9.3) Can I vaccinate my own ferrets?
(9.4) What kind of checkups should my ferret be having?
(9.5) What should I look for when I check over my ferret myself?
(9.6) Are ferrets really as prone to disease as it seems?
(9.7) How do I contact Dr. Williams? I hear he'll help with diagnoses.
10. *** Problems to watch for and related information ***
(10.1) What warning signs of disease should I look for?
(10.2) My ferret's had funny-looking stools for a few days. What's wrong?
(10.3) My ferret is going bald (tail only or all over).
(10.4) What are these little (black oily)/(red waxy)/(orange crusty)
spots on my ferret's tail/skin?
(10.5) How well do ferrets handle heat? What about cold?
(10.6) How can I get rid of these fleas?
(10.7) How do I tell if my ferret has ear mites? What do I do about them?
(10.8) Do I need to worry about heartworms?
Part 5: MEDICAL OVERVIEW
11. *** Common health problems ***
(11.1) Common diseases in ferrets
(11.2) Overview of common health problems
(11.2.2) Parasitic health problems
(11.2.3) Infectious diseases
(11.2.4) Neoplasia (Cancer)
12. *** General medical information ***
(12.1) What are normal body temperature, *** test results, etc.?
(12.2) What tests might my vet want to run, and why?
(12.3) What anesthetic should my vet be using?
(12.4) Do I need to worry about toxoplasmosis?
(12.5) How do I care for my sick or recovering ferret?
(12.6) My ferret won't eat. What should I do?
(12.7) What's Duck Soup? Anyone have a recipe?
13. *** Medical reference material ***
(13.1) What books can I get or recommend to my vet?
(13.2) Are there any other useful references?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
0. *** About this FAQ ***
Subject: (0.1) Notes on formatting
The answers in this file are given in a "digest format" which should
make it easier for you to scan through it for the information you want.
Each question begins with a line of hyphens, followed by its number and
the question itself, as given in the Table of Contents above. In many
newsreaders, including rn, trn, and strn, you can jump from one
question to the next by hitting CONTROL-G. You can also look for a
particular answer by searching for its number or for words from the
Cross-references to other questions are in square brackets; for
example, [1.2] means that more information may be found in section
Subject: (0.2) Where to get this FAQ
This FAQ is posted around the 20th of each month to the rec.pets,
alt.pets.ferrets, alt.answers, rec.answers, and news.answers
newsgroups. It's stored on various internet access systems and BBS's,
including Compuserve and (I think) AOL, and it can be found in either
English or Japanese (possibly a slightly older version) in library3
of the FPETS forum in Japan's NiftyServe system. For information about
or see the list at Ferret Central
<http://www.moonsgarden.com/:8080/users/pgreene/> on the WWW.
The FAQ is also available by anonymous FTP in the directory
(that is, ftp to ftp.optics.rochester.edu and cd to the indicated directory).
The files themselves are called part1.faq through part5.faq.
If you don't have access to FTP, or if the server is busy (as it often
is), you can also request the files by mail. You can receive all five
parts in separate email messages by sending a message to
with the single line (in the body of the message)
GET ANSWERS PACKAGE FERRET
To receive only a single part, instead send a command like
GET ANSWERS PART1 FERRET
The Ferret FAQ is also available on the World Wide Web, as a fully-
indexed, cross-linked set of documents for browsing with Mosaic, lynx,
or a similar WWW client. Open the URL
and I'll be glad to send you a copy.
Subject: (0.3) Goal of this FAQ
A number of books exist which were written by experts and are intended
to be comprehensive discussions of all sorts of ferret behavior and
medical problems. This FAQ is not intended to replace any of those.
However, there seemed to be a need for a document which covers many of
the basic questions in a fairly light way. Originally, this was
intended to be a FAQ in the purest sense of the term: a document to
answer questions which keep coming up in the newsgroups and Ferret
Over the months, however, the FAQ grew, and its purpose ...
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